Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trip to Malacca

Went with missus and a couple (QQ*librarian and her hubby) over the weekend (27 - 29 Oct) to Malacca... minus Rachel. Yeah I missed the bubbly princess, especially on the 2nd day.

But I shouldn't be concerned as we had planned for Rachel to enjoy herself with her cousins while we were away. I bought her a princess watch (Ariel) which she had always wanted.

Anyway, this is my second trip to the town since 4 - 5 years ago (before Rachel was born). The city is slowly losing the 'sleepy'-late-70s feeling, with the constructions of new high-rise buildings dotting the coastal landscape and the developments of new shopping malls within the city center. By and large it still managed to retain part of the Straits-Chinese heritage charm in certain areas (that's why tourists come), especially when we took a walk down Jonker Street area.

The journey took about 3 hours using the second link, coupled with two short stops for bios break, leg stretch and lunch. We reached the Hotel Equitorial just before 3pm for check-in. After that, we headed down to Jonker Street for some sight-seeing, shopping and mingling with the tourists/locals in the night market. Took a short rest at the Geographer Cafe.

Missus shopped and shopped. She must have enjoyed herself tremendously. Probably she never had her personal space to shop without Rachel drawing her attention away. Indeed Rachel can sometimes be a handful in shopping centers - running around, trying on clothes, shoes, accessories, girl-stuff, etc.

The next day, we visited the Peranakan Heritage museum/town house. The entrance is RM8 per pax. It was very reasonable as we got to see the deep history up to 4 generations of the family who owned the museum, the traditional customs and culture of a pure Peranakan family.

This is a must-see, make-your-money-worth tour. The valuable antiques and furniture inside are well-preserved. I was still awed by the deep history of the Peranakans, being a half-Peranakan myself (late mum's side). Even the tour guide was the same lady who had brought us the first time round. She didn't change a bit, even! I know it's her because of the monotonous, 'mechanical' voice (as if reading from a script) while she was conducting the tour. It was as if she had been saying those words for a millionth time. Probably...

We had the famous chicken rice-balls for lunch in the shophouse by the bridge. Still tasted as good since the first time I had it 4-5 years ago. Not those commercialized restaurants trying to emulate the original. You'll know the shophouse is the original, authentic, good-tasting one when:
  1. It is always crowded.
  2. It opens only during noon time. By 4pm it closes, while the other restaurants are still open.
We had it with the lime-chilli sauce. Yum yum! Don't ever miss it! Thinking of the chicken rice-balls right now makes my mouth water.

We ate at Jonker 88 eating house. Tried the nonya laska and chendol. Absolutely delicious too!

Then it was more shopping (all hail the missus) at the Mahkota shopping center till mid-afternoon. We took a swim back at the hotel and had our dinner at the Banonya Peranakan Restaurant nearby. And then more shopping into the night. *groan*

We headed back to the hotel at 10pm as I wanted to catch the match between Man United and Bolton Wanderers. Final score: Man U 4 Bolton 0. Sweet!

I never knew Missus missed shopping so much! It was non-stop into the night till the shops in the shopping center started to close. I thought the 4-letter word that most women wanted to hear was 'LOVE'. It must have changed to 'SHOP' and 'SALE' after marriage. Sheesh...

Next day was the trip back home. We missed Nog-nog (Rachel's pet name) very badly. I only wanted to see her expression when I present the princess watch to her.

Rachel went absolutely crazy about the watch. She even slept with it! I'm a proud father. *smiles*

Overall, I enjoyed the trip (7.5/10). But I think missus enjoyed it more. Must have been the shopping factor.

In summary, the must-do in Malacca:
  • Jonker 88 eating house cum museum - 7.5/10
  • Jonker Street night market (opens from Friday - Sunday every week) - 7/10
  • Peranakan Heritage Museum - 8/10
  • Shophouse selling chicken rice-balls at the bridge - 8.5/10
  • Authentic Peranakan Food (either Banonya or Ole Sayang Restaurant) - 7.5/10
  • Pineapple tarts - 7.5/10
  • Shopping (for me) - 6/10
  • Shopping (for her) - 12/10
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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Did they really say that?

Quotes compiled by an anonymous blogger:

"Retrenchment is good for singapore. If there is no retrenchment, then I worry." - SM Goh

"I don't think that there should be a cap on the number of directorship that a person can hold." - PAP MP John Chen who holds 8 directorships

"It's not for the money because some of the companies pay me as little as $10,000 a year." - PAP MP Wang Kai Yuen who holds 11 directorships

"If you want to dance on a bar top, some of us will fall off the bar top. Some people will die as a result of liberalising bar top dancing... a young girl with a short skirt dancing on it may attract some insults from some other men, the boyfriend will start fighting and some people will die." - Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports

"I would want to form an alternative policies group in Parliament, comprising 20 PAP MPs. These 20 PAP MPs will be free to vote in accordance with what they think of a particular policy. In other words, the whip for them will be lifted. This is not playing politics, this is something which I think is worthwhile doing." - SM Goh

"If you sing Jailhouse Rock with your electric guitar when others are playing Beethoven, you are out of order. The whip must be used on you." - SM Goh again, on a dramatic u-turn, rethink or backtrack, whatever you call it

"Save on one hairdo and use the money for breast screening." - another gem from Lim Hng Kiang

"We started off with (the name) and after looking at everything, the name that really tugged at the heartstrings was in front of us. The name itself is not new, but what has been used informally so far has endeared itself to all parties." - Mah Bow Tan on the $400,000 exercise to rename Marina Bay as *gasp* Marina Bay

"Having enjoyed football as a national sport for decades, we in Singapore have set ourselves the target of reaching the final rounds of World Cup in 2010." - Ho Peng Kee

"Only 5% are unemployed. We still have 95% who are employed." - Yeo Cheow Tong

"Singaporean workers have become more expensive than those in the USA and Australia." - Tony Tan

"People support CPF cuts because there are no protest outside parliament." - PM Lee

"No, it was not a U-turn, and neither was it a reversal of government policy. But you can call it a rethink." - Yeo Cheow Tong

"...I regret making the decision because, in the end, the baby continued to be in intensive care, and KKH now runs up a total bill of more than $300,000..." - Lim Hng Kiang, regretting the decision to save a baby's life because KKH ran up a $300,000 bill

No prize for guessing who said this recently:

"Army will intervene in freak elections" - 15 Sep 2006
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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Eliteness, Peeves and People need people

Sigh. Eliteness at its worst.

RJC College student Wee Shu Min, a daughter of MP Wee Siew Kim, literally blew herself up. And her father's career too. I'm not too sure if he will get elected for the measure. Not at least by the common people.

A certain blogger by the name of Mr Derek Wee blogged about his concerns on Singaporean workers and the competition from foreign talents and the lack of job opportunities from older workers. (See his full article)

She dismissed his views and commented:
"Derek, Derek, Derek darling, how can you expect to have an iron rice bowl or a solid future if you cannot spell?"

"There's no point in lambasting the Government for making our society one that is, I quote, 'far too survival of the fittest'... If uncertainty of success offends you so much, you will certainly be poor and miserable."

She told him to 'get out of my elite uncaring face' in a concluding comment. (see her full comments)

To top it off:
"Mr Wee Siew Kim said he stood by his daughter's 'basic point', but added: 'As a parent, I may not have inculcated the appropriate level of sensitivity, but she has learnt a lesson.' "

As one blogger puts it:
You will be disconnected too if you eat 'mee siam' with 'hums'.

---
(Newsflash) SBS Transit launches 'Flag the Bus Early' campaign

Duh. How stupid can we get? Peeves:

  1. Since when has the bus not stopping at bus-stops became the fault of commuters?
  2. Why call bus-stops if it is not for buses stopping? Maybe we should change 'bus-stops' to 'bus-maybe-stop-but-not-for-you'.
  3. Why don't bus compaines have 'Bus-drivers slow down and stop at bus-stops' campaign? Or have a 'Big number signs on buses' campaign? Just an example, have you ever tried flagging down a 160, 166 or 169 bus which has all three buses running at the same bus-stop?
  4. Why don't bus compaines have 'Stop wasting money on lousy campaigns' campaign and direct profits to 'Decrease fare hikes' campaign?
  5. Why do bus companies post high profit earnings but increase fares due to whatever excuses they can think of? Maybe we should also have another 'Stop giving us lousy excuses' campaign.
  6. Why bloody have a campaign at all? Do we need one? Did we ask for one? Aren't we a mature and developed society? Must we need campaigns to think for us?
---
I was touched by the financial help poured in for the family who lost the husband and father. He committed suicide by jumping in front of an oncoming MRT train. A couple of thought-provoking reads:

  1. Turning Away
  2. What exactly constitutes “financial difficulty”?

These are real life issues. How low can a man go before the help he needed ever came?

  1. How ever can a poor person (who is usually illiterate) know that he can receive help? How will he ever know there are 'vouchers' for him? If he had 80cents to buy a newspaper, wouldn't he be saving that for more important matters like food, basic necessities - soap, toothpaste, water, etc, which we often take for granted?
  2. How many people, who had given up their studies (in the late 60s, 70s) to work so that they can bring money for their younger siblings, find themselves lost out in the rat race to be elite? Re-training? *LOL*
  3. How many more of such people exist (with suicidal tendencies thinking where/when their children next meal will be) in Singapore? Must a suicide wake Singaporeans up? Must a death snap us from our Singapore dreaming?
  4. Are we too ingrained in pursuing academics, elite-ness that we forget who we are - humans who need humans? Just a touch, a simple gesture and kindness can turn a family around. Or can it?
  5. How come his relatives and friends never came to help? Now the family is 0.5 million dollars richer through the kindness and help poured in from the public. Will they suddenly appear to 'help' and become close to the family? Where was your loving back then?

---

Guess some questions will never be answered.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wait...

Perhaps God is telling me the answer to the haze. Perhaps it's my life, the search for a deeper meaning. Perhaps it's all the answers to the questions I've asked and the answers I'm longing to hear.

Perhaps. Just wait.

One thing I know - when I see His faithfulness, He sees my faith.
---
This poem written was by a missionary after a 2-month illness.

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried:
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said, "Child, you must wait."

"WAIT? You say 'wait'," my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers. I need to know why!
Is Your hand shortened? Or have You not heard?
By faith I have asked and am claiming Your Word.

My future and all to which I can relate
Hangs in the balance, and YOU tell me 'Wait'?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign.

And, Lord, You promised that if we believe
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And, Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply!"

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, "You must wait".
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So I'm waiting....for what?"

He seemed, then, to kneel, and His eyes wept with mine,
And He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, cause the mountains to run.
All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want...but you wouldn't know Me.

You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint;
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint;
You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there;
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence were all you could see.

You'd never experience the fullness of love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove;
You'd know that I give and I save (for a start),
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart,
The glow of My comfort late in the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that's beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite God, who makes what you have last.

You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that "My grace is sufficient for thee".
Yes, your dreams for that loved one overnight would
come true, But, Oh, the loss!
If I lost what I am doing in you!

So be silent, My child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though oft may My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still, "WAIT".
---
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
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Friday, October 13, 2006

YAI (Yet another idiotic) bitter aftertaste

(append) QQ*librarian has kindly included the newspaper article as a comment. Thanks!

-----
Which is worse? To have ash and soot up your nose and in your mouth? Or have someone clogging your ears by spewing nonsensical statements?

In this case, my grouch is against this Indonesian minister guy who has either too much sooty air in his brain that clouded his judgment, or he has inhaled too much haze that has virtually killed off his intelligent (if any) brain cells.

If you have read what he said with regards to the haze issue, you'll agree with me. (I could not find the article on the web, so I'm paraphrasing. I'll post what he actually said when I find it.)

He mentioned something along the line of :
For years, Indonesia has been providing good quality oxygen to our neighbours (Singapore, Malaysia) through our XXX hectares of land. They should be grateful for the clean air given and thank us. Now they should not 'complain' about the bad air quality.

Er sir, with all due respect, it's like farting in an air-conditioned car with Singapore and Malaysia as your passengers. And then you do something stupid like:
  1. Fault the driver for using the air-con. Or it's nobody's fault since the car came along with an air-con system.
  2. Tell your passengers to wind down the windscreens and breathe (whereas for this hazy case, Singapore and Malaysia don't have a friggin' choice. We share the same air).
  3. Tell your passengers that they have a choice not to breathe for the next 3 months.
  4. Pull out a couple of bags filled with oxygen and sell them at an exorbitant price to pay off your debts.
  5. Quote from a farmer and blame it on the wind direction. You know, Mother Nature's fault for farting in the wrong direction.

Yeah right, the car-maker forgot to cater for an intelligent system to detect fart and divert the air elsewhere, lest your passengers die of suffocation.

If I was the car-maker, I'll install an eject-seat function for morons like you.

I mean, what the...? People can actually get away saying that?

Let me spell it clearly to you:
I didn't start the haze problem. You did. I didn't set the forests on fire. Your farmers /culprits did. I didn't complain until it got so bad that my eyes started to smart. And my family is having flu-like symptons. You didn't pay my medical bills.

So which part you don't understand?

If you have a huge glass dome over your country and you are burning your forests down and killing all your own citizens with your own actions, that's your problem.

But when your problem becomes my problem, I have every right to complain and re-arrange your face.

It's like people who smoke all the days of their lives and then get diagnosed with nose/throat cancer, they sue the tobacco company. Or people who keep up-sizing their Mcdonald's meal and then sue the company for their obesity and over-eating.

*mind-boggling*

Who knows, probably he is rich enough to buy oxygen tanks and masks for his family and kids.

I don't.

And I speak for the majority of the Singaporeans and Malaysians who suffer at your YAI actions and words.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Unthinkable

I have done the UNTHINKABLE. I have put a new link - the P65 blog.

*bugger, what did you go do that?*

Yeah yeah I know the risks and issues. Look, I know Zaqy when he was just a consultant doing a project for a stepboard I was working in. He's smart and nice. And family-oriented. We had some fun chats in the meeting rooms while waiting for latecomers.

Not sure if he has changed over the years.

You see, the main purpose is this: since the P65 team wants to be real and personal, I'll provide him a window into the world of a normal Singaporean. And the disgruntled and sometimes passionate sentiments that many of us feel.

Zaqy's a human. So am I. He has a kid (maybe more?), so do I. He has real-life issues of daughter falling sick (sometimes political issues), so do I.

He wants to 'connect'? I'll give him a chance. But just don't tell me what I can (or cannot) do with my blog, especially my opinions and other comments.

Opinions are like a**holes; everybody has one. The moment the line is crossed, I'm going to remove the link. Or maybe close this blogsite down.

And to my friends reading my blog, I assure you - I'm not going into politics. And I surely do not want to be politically affliated too. Let's stick it to just friends.

Let's see how 'connect' the P65 can be (pardon the Singlish).

As the song goes:


Fly me to the moon
And let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars...
Think I just got hit in the head by an asteriod...
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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Funny thing: Singlish

I was just thinking about Singlish the other day when I suddenly realized one thing:

It is the kind of language that all races in Singapore speak and understand.

Duh.

C'mon admit it. Everybody Singaporean speaks like dat. Why, huh? I don't know lah; it's like a growing organism, evolving with new words added to the rojak (mixed-up) vocab every other day.

An ang-moh speaking it just doesn't sound right, yes? No offense to my ang-moh friends but they will say something like 'I'm trying to understand you. Lah'. Notice the pause before the lah? *cringe*

And we just cannot get enough of it! God knows I've tried to purge it out from my system. The roots go a long, long way.

It's not Racial Harmony day, it's not National Day, it's not campaigns or National Education or even writing lots of newspaper articles on patriotism, loyalty to country, Uniquely Singapore or what-have-yous.

Yes, it's Singlish. Unfortunately.

Purely because everyone from Ah-Peks, Ah-Mas, aunties at the markets, the Bibis, the Ka-Ka neighbours, the Ah-Neighs at the Mama shops, the kids at the playground, you and I. Everybody uses it!

It's like a National Identity.

And the government thinks it's not good for us. From the English technical point of view, absolute yes, it's bad. From a cultural, Singaporean Ah-beng, Ah-Mat, Ah-neigh, brudder perspective - resounding NO!

What else, you tell me, can make a group of young men from various backgrounds, educational levels and races doing their National Service (aka Army) and communicating on a sama-sama (same) wavelength?

I'd swear it's not the green-coloured uniforms they wear but yes, it's Singlish. You speak Singlish, I understand. Brudder-brudder. Siong or not, we ciong together, k? And the Sergeant snickers, "Today, whole platoon going to get tekan (punishment) becoz all super-slow. You are supposed to fly, you understand? Nevermind, take your time, hor!"

Rings a bell, doesn't it? Every Singaporean mother son of a Malay, Indian, Chinese soldier understands the sentences above. Do you think the Sergeant will speak in perfect English and then invite you over for a cup of tea?

Ling-pei say kena sai! Er, nevermind this translation.

Changing the lifestyle and the way we speak daily is like removing our very common identity that binds us as Singaporeans. Uniquely. As PCK says - some say in JB and Batam. Heh.

How often (if at all) do you see the Straits Times publishing:

  1. "Today one Taiwanese politician hantam (hit, punch) the opposition member. Then all fight like siao (madness) in the Parliament House."
  2. "Lebanon kena bomb until bin-qi-qi (translate 'face green-green' or means unbearable) by Israel. So buay-song (not happy), hantam back with rockets into Israeli towns."
  3. "LTA (Land Transport Authority) says 'Fare hike increase bo-bian (cannot help it). Oil prices increase. MP salaries increase. Anyway cheap-cheap what, only few cents.'

    In response, opposition Workers' Party says 'Siao, think money grow on trees. Your father surname Lee, huh?

    In retort, LTA says 'Ah-but then (Needless to say). Buay-song, huh? Say some more, I fix you'.

    WP says 'You wait, hor. For now, chiam-see-tong...' (be patient, wait a while. Also has similar spelling as veteran opposition leader with same name. Coincidental?)"
You see, when you type it out, it seems all weird. But when you share over a coffee with your friends with kopi-tiam (coffee-shop, means idle chatting) talk, everyone understands what you are getting at.

Funny, hor?

---
By the way, the post-65ers doing hip-hop for CNY (Chinese New Year) is definitely not funny or cool. The word spreading in blogs is 'LAME' - Losing All Mental Effectiveness.

Tip/Advice:
  1. We don't need you to connect with us. Just listen.
  2. When implementing policies, not only use your brains but also your heart and conscience.
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